August 30, 2009
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Jamaican rhythm guitarist Tony Chin joined bassist Fully Fullwood around 1967 to form their first band, The Riddim Raiders. In 1970 Earl "Chinna" Smith came in as their lead guitarist and Santa Davis replaced Horsemouth Wallace as their drummer. After changing their name to The Soul Syndicate they started doing sessions for Bunny Lee, backing artists such as Delroy Wilson, Cornell Campbell, Slim Smith and Johnny Clarke. For producer Phil Pratt they recorded with artists such as John Holt, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Pat Kelly. During the seventies they were involved in numerous recordings for the leading producers of that time. The list of artists for which they provided the backing is endlessly. One of reggae's most enduring riddims, "Stalag", was done by The Soul Syndicate. Furthermore they also did some of Lee Perry's sessions with Bob Marley and The Wailers. In 1981 Tony moved to America, where he teamed up with the reggae pop band Big Mountain giving the band the authentic reggae riddim sound. Today you can find Tony Chin backing major artists on the reggae festivals.
In the beginning of this century Tony Chin 'debuted' with the album "Music And Me" and some years later he gave the world the album "Jamaican Classics Chapter One". Now he presents his latest effort called "Universal Love". The sixteen track album holds one cover. It's Tony's interpretation of The Wailers' tune Let Him Go featuring Vin Gordon and Glenn DeCosta on horns. Other reggae legends contributing to this album are Carlton 'Santa' Davis, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, George 'Fully' Fullwood, Keith Sterling, Ras Michael and Nambo.
The album has a positive vibe and an authentic feel. Listening to the music one might draw the conclusion that these are tracks he recorded in the late 70s / early 80s. In particular the tunes Reggae Beat, When Will It End, Gunfire, No Good Girl, Baby Come Back and Chatty Chatty will give you this impression. These are fine catchy tunes where Tony proofs he has become a decent vocalist.
It's obvious that the aforementioned tunes are among our favourite tracks of the album, but don't forget to spin the rocksteady flavoured roots tune Place Called Love, an inspirational song where Tony describes a kind of utopia world to escape to. The opening tune Reggae Beat is inspired by Tony's love for reggae music and his culture and reflects the universal love for reggae music which Tony has experienced during his travels around the world playing it. Mama and Papa is Tony's favorite song on the cd as it is a very personal song based on his own loss of his parents. Check it out!
Man's Secrets, a nyahbinghi influenced track featuring Ras Michael on kete drums has an old testament kind of message to it in regards to child abusers and domestic violence. Gunfire is an aggressive protest tune that Tony wrote in the late 70's or early 80's while living in Kingston and was previously released on a compilation album put out on the Epiphany Records imprint. Samantha is a really quality driven lovers tune. The last track on the album, Indian Nation, is quite different from the other tunes. Tony descibes it as "a very sincere song, inspired by the plight and discrimination Native Americans experienced in US History and the negative stereotypes portrayed in the old western movies".
Tony Chin has managed to deliver a highly entertaining album, guaranteed to please all fans.
Visit Tony Chin's website